Siksika Knowledge Courses

Old Sun Community College takes the responsibility to offer a range of courses to contribute to Siksika Knowledge. Over the decades many Siksika knowledge keepers have done research and contributed to the local development of resources and implementation of cultural activities; we owe our gratitude to them. Iipommowaiks (Ceremonial Knowledge Keepers), Omahkitapiiks (Seniors), and Academics have developed these more recent courses that are listed. As other programs evolve more courses are developed. The continuous development ensures that our learners have the opportunity to gain the knowledge that our ancestors intended for our people to know. The status of transferability to other postsecondary institutions is noted for each course. Some courses may remain strictly as Old Sun Courses without transfer credit. 

SIKSIKAISKSINIMA’TSTOHKSINI – Siksika Knowledge Courses that transfer to public institutions

Siksikaitsitaapi SK 200 (AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

Introduction to the Siksika People

Credit hours: 3.0

This introduction to Siksika people will give an overview of who the Siksika people are to address the critical need for the integration of Siksika knowledge, pedagogy and philosophy into Siksika lifelong learning studies.  Colonialist and assimilationist policies and approaches have dominated the formal educational experiences of all Siksika students contributing to a severe loss of identity. This course will introduce a range of key topics through the lens of Siksika knowledge keepers.  It will provide an exploration of Siksika Spirituality, Siksika Societies, the clan systems, language and history before and after colonization.  The topics covered will provide an introduction to content that can be studied in greater depth in subsequent courses.

Pre-Requisite:  None

Niistawatsimaani SK 220 (AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

Introduction to Siksika Child Rearing Practices 

Credit hours: 3.0

This course will bring about an understanding of the whole philosophy of Niistawatsimaani, Siksika traditional child rearing practices, and compare to present day practices.  Niistawatsimaani is the foundation of Siksika life.  The course will examine age old practices and compare to current practices.  Through this analysis students will come to understand how these changes have come about and how they have impacted the Siksika people.  The intent is to regain those important practices that created a holistic context and healthy foundation for child rearing. 

Prerequisites:  None

Inaistsiiyi SK 240 (AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

Spirit and Intent of the Blackfoot Treaty

Credit hours: 3.0

The course will examine the process of treaty making in the past; and then examine the negotiations and the spirit and intent of the Treaty No.7, known as a Blackfoot Treaty.  It is important for students to understand the significance of the use of the pipe in this peace agreement; the treaty is sacred and is forever. This course is important for people to understand the history of the agreement to learn from the past, to protect the rights for future generations and to be knowledgeable about treaty implementation.  Students will learn key Siksika terminology related to the treaty.

Prerequisites: none

Residential Schools at Siksika SK 252 (AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

A Review of the Legacy of Residential Schools

Credit hours: 3.0

This course looks at the purpose of residential schools and the role that they played in the colonization process. Students will become familiar with the impacts of the residential schools.  The course will trace the chronology of the residential school movement from the implementation of the policy to the Prime Minister’s apology, compensation and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Prerequisites: none

Cultural Immersion Field Course – SK 260 (AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

Introduction to Experience of Ceremonial and Cultural Activities

Credit hours: 3.0

This experiential course will be offered in a block with a focus on specific activities such as Ii’kokaanists – Painted Tipi Design, Protocol and Construction. Through a specific topic the students will understand the significance of cultural events/practices such as the significance of the teepee to Siksika people. The focus of each activity is on living values; spirituality; health and healing; and roles, responsibilities, and respect. The cultural immersion activity will involve an understanding of environmental factors and natural materials used so activities may involve experiences in rugged field conditions and varying weather for which students must be prepared and equipped. Pre-session study may be required.

Prerequisites: None

Learning From Place SK 294 (AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

Traditional Blackfoot Territory
Credit hours: 3.0
Block Classes

This course explores the relationships between identity, knowledge and place. The learners will travel Kitaowahsinnoon (what feeds us), our Blackfoot Territory. This will include visiting historical sites, engaging in dialogue with sacred places and conducting traditional hunting and gathering activities. Throughout these activities participants will reflect on core questions, such as: What is our relationship to these places? What are our responsibilities in living these relationships? How might engagements with place shape one’s lifelong learning experiences?

Prerequisite: none

Iihtsipaitapiiyiopi SK 300 (AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

Introduction to Siksika Spirituality
Credit Hours: 3.0
Some block classes

The goal of this course is for students to understand Siksika origins. Spirituality was the Siksika way of life and without it Siksika people do not have 100% identity. The information presented will be knowledge that was common to all; rituals that are secret to ceremonial members will not be covered. Through the concepts presented, the students will better understand the Siksika Way of Life and those values and code of ethics that guide that Life. The Siksika Society was an oral society thus lessons were learned from Iitsini’ksin (stories). The approach to this course will be done though the presentation of the origin stories.

Pre-Requisite: Siksikaitsitaapi SK 200 is recommended.

Iihkana’ka’atsiiks SK 312 (AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

Introduction to Siksika Societies
Credit Hours: 3.0

The goal of this course is for the students to understand: the history of the Siksika societies from their origin to today, who the past and current society members are, what the purpose of each society is and how they all fit together for the good of the people. The key role for the social order of the tribe and holistic health, body, mind and spirit will be covered. What information is appropriate to share with the general public will be guided by Society members.

Pre-requisite: Siksikaitsitaapi SK 200 – Introduction the Siksika People is recommended.

Siksika Bundles SK 316 (AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

Introduction to the Significance of Bundles and Ownership
Credit Hours: 3.0

The course will introduce the many different kinds of bundles that exist, who the past and current owners of bundles are and the significance of these to the Siksika Way of Life. The students will also be introduced to the role of bundle holders for prayers and contributions to community well-being. The intent of this course is to rejuvenate an understanding of and respect for the Siksika Way of Life and the values and traditions embedded in this.
Pre-Requisite: SK 200 Recommended

Siksika’kiiks 328 (AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

Siksika Female Rites of Passage
Credit hours: 3.0

This course will study about the rites of passage of young girls to womanhood. Topics will include Siksika women’s roles, involvement in ceremonies, looking after bundles, construction of teepees, and so on. The core values related to each topic will be studied. The changing roles of women overtime will be traced. Contemporary issues, challenges and legislation that impact on women will be among the key topics to be discussed. The importance of understanding the roles of women will contribute to understanding some practices and values that contribute to a healthy community in the present day.

Prerequisites: 200 Level Siksika Knowledge course

Clan Systems SK 332 (AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

Siksika Genealogy
Credit hours: 3.0

This course will introduce students to the Siksika Clan System and the significance for teaching values and how to become a leader, e.g. Clan Chief or a Chief Woman. Students will become familiar with different clans, their histories, connections to geography and migration patterns. They will research the Tribal groupings to understand how the tribe is interconnected and also look at intertribal genealogy, that is, how the Nations of the Blackfoot Confederacy are interconnected.

Prerequisites: SK 200 Level Course

Kitaowahsinnooni SK 344 (AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

Siksika Traditional Lands, Historic Sites and Land Claims Processes

Credit hours: 3.0

The students will research the boundaries of the vast Blackfoot Confederacy traditional territory, the land designated to Siksika as per Treaty 7 and the reasons for the reduction to the current land base. This will include an overview of the land claims that Siksika has launched and the processes involved. This will cover those claims that have been settled and those still underway. The national picture on other claims and settlements will be explored for their impacts on claims in general.

Prerequisites: SK 240, SK 294 or Equivalent

Aakakihtsimaani SK 348(AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

The Evolution of Siksika Governance Structures
Credit hours: 3.0

The focus of the course will be on the traditional and contemporary Siksika governance structure and practices. Topics will include underlying political values and beliefs and decision making structures and processes; the traditional philosophy based on survival, ceremonies and rituals. It will review the laws and by-laws that governed and governs the Siksika people. It will also review other acts and legislation that impact on the Siksika Nation, such as: the Indian Act and Amendments, White Papers, Constitutional Reform (Elijah Harper), effects of Bill-C31, Bill C-3, Bill C45 and Bill C27.

Aakoka’tsin 360 (AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

Siksika Cultural/Circle Camp 360
Credit hours: 3.0

The purpose of the cultural camp is to immerse the students in a traditional setting where they experience traditional daily routines in a holistic manner. The activities will include rituals, everyday chores, story-telling and cultural activities. The students will experience first-hand the protocol involved in gathering plants for offerings; making items for utilitarian use (e.g. teepee backrests) and the picking, preparation and storage of edible plants.

Prerequisites: SK 200 or equivalent

Siksika Traditional Use of Plants SK 374 (AU, MRU, St Mary’s U and U of C)

Siksika Use of Plants (Location & Related Protocol)

Credit hours: 3.0

This course will explore the traditional use of plants by Siksika for ceremony, healing, sustenance and other uses.  The course will include a study of where these plants are gathered, prepared for use, or stored.  The study of any protocol or associated rites will also be covered.